Two love stories intertwine for Caleb and Jeannie Sprenger as they prepare to open Sapor Coffee & Concepts at 2785 Speer Boulevard.
When Caleb went to work at his uncle’s coffee roastery four years ago, he didn’t know he was going to fall in love. He had no previous knowledge of coffee, but that quickly changed as he spent more time working at the Lakewood-based coffee roaster Sweet Bloom, which was founded by Andy Sprenger in 2013. As his uncle's right-hand man, Caleb was exposed to all aspects of the business, including production and retail management, and he also learned how to make coffee drinks as a full-time barista.
Then he fell in love for a second time — this time with Jeannie, the woman who would become his wife. They moved away from Colorado and got married, and when they returned to Denver, Caleb wanted to stay in the coffee industry, so the two decided that opening a coffee shop was a good way to pursue his passion.
“I love Sweet Bloom; it’s where I had my start in coffee,” Caleb says. So it makes sense that their coffee shop, on the ground floor of a new apartment complex, will exclusively serve coffee roasted by Sweet Bloom.
“I know how the coffees are supposed to taste, and I have a personal attachment to Sweet Bloom [and] the process that they use to get the best cup of coffee to everyone who drinks it,” he adds.
Sapor, a Latin-based word no longer used in everyday English, was chosen as the namesake for the coffee shop because it is a synonym for "savor."
“Sapor is the quality in a substance that affects a sense of taste, or a characteristic taste, flavor or smell, especially a pleasant one,” explains Jeannie, whose focus is more on the financial side of the business, though she will also act as barista once the cafe opens.
Because they can trust the roaster to deliver quality coffee, the Sprengers can focus on developing the “concept” aspect of Sapor. “Our name is Sapor Coffee and Concepts because we want to focus on this conceptual exploration of coffee, bring dynamic flavors into coffee and highlight the flavors of coffee,” Jeannie notes.
In addition to more traditional coffee drinks like lattes, pour-overs and espresso, Sapor’s menu will include what Caleb describes as “fun ways to serve the coffees”: mocktails and coffee pairings, tastings and flights. “As I began to learn about and enjoy coffee, I realized that it pairs nicely with so many flavors,” he says.
A recent podcast helped him realize that coffee is more than a drink: It can also be an ingredient. “There’s such a wide array of uses for coffee,” he continues, noting that he plans to explore these flavors on the "slow bar" side of the cafe.
In addition to creating specialty coffee drinks, Caleb is looking forward to educating people about coffee, the way he was able to learn at Sweet Bloom. “I want to be able to serve coffee to any person that comes in the door and have them enjoy it — whether it’s someone who is an aficionado or someone who is brand-new to the specialty-coffee world,” he says. “I want to make coffee an experience for everyone.”
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Sweet Bloom focuses on the farmer-to-consumer relationship, something Caleb intends to continue at Sapor. “I want to provide a way for people to learn about the coffees, where [the coffee] came from, the stories of the farmers, the story of the bean and how it got to that country,” he explains.
The building that houses Sapor, between the Jefferson Park and LoHi neighborhoods, is a luxury apartment complex with 336 units that will soon be filled with new residents. While construction on the interior of the coffee shop has yet to begin, the Sprengers envision a space with high ceilings, big windows, concrete floors and exposed cinder-block walls. It will also have outdoor seating in the summer.
They plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign sometime in September — complete with coffee-inspired rewards — to support their endeavors. They hope Sapor Coffee and Concepts will be open to the public by December, providing that permitting and construction stay on schedule.